The Medical Council of India (MCI) has proposed a common entrance examination for undergraduate and postgraduate medicine as part of a series of major reforms it is spearheading in the medical education sector, S.K. Sarin, Chairperson of the Board of Governors of MCI, said on Thursday.

Delivering the first convocation address of Chettinad University, Mr. Sarin said the common entrance test planned by the MCI would be a transparent process that would allow aspirants from smaller cities and towns to make it to a Medical College.

Stating that medical education in the country was poised at a turning point in its history, Mr. Sarin said the MCI was aiming to create more opportunities and address skills shortage in the health sector through various measures such as increasing the number of colleges and scaling up the number of seats available in the country, especially for postgraduate specialisation.

At present, the ratio of PG seats to UG seats (35,000) was skewed even after the number of PG seats were increased from 11,000 to 19,000. Mr. Sarin noted that with the MCI dispensing with the essentiality clause that required universities seeking to start PG courses to secure State government clearance, they were able to directly apply for starting new and innovative courses.

Mr. Sarin wanted students not to be “tubular” and encouraged them to diversify their talents with hybrid qualifications. He hinted at several changes in sector to create such opportunities in the next few months.

However, the MCI's drive to create more opportunities for medical education and expand the fraternity of doctors would not compromise on quality and competency, Mr. Sarin said.

He presented the Rajah Muthiah Awards to Master of Science students M. Balamurugan (for clinical research and experimental medicine), N. Surya (medical bio-nanotechnology) and Gayatri Uttur (clinical embryology).

M.A.M. Ramaswamy, Chancellor, Chettinad University, presided over the function and handed out the degrees. V. Raji, Vice-Chancellor, said the university has been introducing innovative courses.